Gajendra suicide: Don't let our farmers die, says PM Modi; Rajnath Singh backs Delhi Police
The BJP-led government is likely to face a barrage of uncomfortable questions in Parliament on Thursday with the suicide of a Rajasthan farmer in the national capital providing fresh ammunition to the opposition parties led by the Congress.india Updated: Apr 23, 2015 17:09 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said his government was open to suggestions from political parties on ways to stop the spate of farmer suicides in the country.
The PM said the ruling and opposition parties should get together to find a solution to the problem which is "very old, deep-rooted and widespread"
"Nothing is bigger than a farmer's life, nothing is bigger than a human life," Modi said while replying to an all-party debate in the Lok Sabha on the suicide of a Rajasthan farmer in the national capital.
The PM said he shared the agony of all members of the House over the issue and that all parties need to ponder over where successive governments went wrong in dealing with the agrarian crisis.
"Don't let our farmers die," he added.
Gajendra Singh, a farmer from Dausa in Rajasthan, committed suicide on Wednesday by hanging himself from a tree in full public view at an Aam Aadmi Party rally at Jantar Mantar, a stone's throw away from Parliament.
Need to introspect and find solutions: PM Modi on farmer's suicide
Rajnath backs Delhi Police
Home minister Rajnath Singh backed the Delhi Police over the way the incident was handled saying they tried to stop Gajendra from committing suicide.
Making a statement in the Lok Sabha , Singh said while the policemen on duty called up control room and tried to get help from the fire brigade to stop Gajendra from committing suicide, he was egged on by AAP volunteers.
" The crowd was clapping. The police requested them to stop raising slogans. Generally, such people are engaged in talks to turn their mind but here the crowd kept clapping and raising slogans," he said.
Several members were sharply critical of the police personnel present there for not doing anything as the farmer ended his life.
Many, including Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, sought a judicial probe to fix accountability, saying the police are in the dock over the matter, and they cannot probe themselves.
But the home minister ignored persistent demands from opposition parties for a judicial probe into the whole incident.
Outside Parliament too the political blame game continued with Congress workers demonstrating outside the residence of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Congress activists burnt Kejriwal's effigy and shouted slogans against him for continuing with the AAP rally even after the farmer hanged himself to death at the venue.
Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia got into a huddle with other party leaders to deal with the fallout of the incident.
The BJP, too, targeted AAP."This was a motivated murder, an FIR should be filed for murder," Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay said.
Oppn closes ranks in Rajya Sabha
In the Rajya Sabha, the Congress joined hands with other opposition parties to corner the government.
"Both the central government and the government of Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi are responsible for it," leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said, raising the issue during Zero Hour.
He also slammed the Prime Minister saying he, as BJP's PM candidate in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls last year, had promised that he will put a check on the incidents of farmers' suicides.
Azad said that contrary to the promises, the cases of farmers' suicides are now being reported even from Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
Members of Congress and Samjawadi disrupted proceedings for 15 minutes demanding a statement by Modi in the House.
When the House reassembled, Mayawati (BSP) said the incident required proper investigation and sought a CBI probe to ascertain the reasons behind Gajendra's suicide..
The government is already under pressure over allegations of trampling on farmers' rights for bringing significant changes in the land acquisition bill, doing away with the crucial consent and social impact clauses.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been very vocal on the farmers' issue, addressing a rally at the Ram Lila maidan and then attacking the Modi government during a forceful address in the Lok Sabha.
The BJP government managed to pass the bill in Lok Sabha where it enjoys brute majority but has stumbled in the Upper House where the opposition has blocked its passage.
After the farmer's suicide, even other non-BJP parties which have long sided with the government may change sides.
The government has every reason to be worried over the stance likely to taken by its allies like the Shiromani Akali Dal, which rules Punjab, and the Shiv Sena, which is already throwing tantrums after being slighted in Maharashtra and the delay in cabinet expansion at the Centre.